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Area superintendents reflect on school year impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:10 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - This week marks the end of the school year for many area school districts including Eau Claire and Altoona. And while the COVID-19 pandemic created plenty of challenges, the leaders of those districts say the ability to overcome them has been a rewarding experience.

For the Altoona School District staying open the entire year is a major accomplishment that took the efforts of the staff, students, families and the entire community.

Altoona School District Superintendent Heidi Eliopoulos says, “I can say that I don’t know if anyone of us were 100-percent confident that we would make it through the whole entire year being in-person the entire time. That’s been one of the biggest challenges this year is that unexpected things happen every single school year. This one was a constant state of unexpected.”

Eliopoulos says while virtual learning will continue to be offered next fall, she understand it’s not a good fit for many students.

“And what we’ve learned is that while we were forced into that this year, it worked really well for them and it was a great fit for them and for their life but not for all, it was a struggle for a lot of students.”

In assessing his first year as Eau Claire Area School District superintendent, Michael Johnson says a return to normal next fall for students and staff members would suggest that nothing was learned from the pandemic. Johnson believes the district was able to adapt and provide a consistent model of education for their students.

“To become a better system because of it. And there are not enough opportunities to say thank you to our community, to our partners, to our stakeholders, to our staff, families and especially the kids. They’ve shown tremendous resilience, especially in the last couple of months as we hit that finish line but we want people to enjoy and be safe and really look forward to next year,” says Johnson.

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